Plans are afoot for a second major international airport in Israel, at the Ramat David air force base in the Lower Galil, The Times of Israelreported on Thursday.
The site selection caps several years of searching for an air terminal to supplement Ben Gurion Airport, a search which took on greater urgency after a 36-hour suspension of international flights by U.S. and European aviation authorities during the Gaza war.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said they hope the new airport will open for civilian use five years after the plan receives government approval. It will be smaller than Ben Gurion, he said, with an estimated 6 million passengers coming through annually. The question of funding for the project remains unresolved, as the Defense Ministry refuses to assume the financial burden alone.
Plans envisage a link to the new branch of the country’s rail network, which will run from Haifa through the Jezreel Valley to Beit Shean when construction is completed.
Katz said a private company will run the airport, but air traffic control will be handled by the relevant government authorities.
Ramat David, which is currently the air force’s only base in northern Israel, will revert to military operations in the event of an emergency.